Through next Tuesday, a group of industrious culinary students from Baltimore’s Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School will be running their own burger joint in Remington. It’s called Noisy Burger, and the food is delicious.
As soon as it was up and running on Wednesday, the pop-up eatery in Remington’s R. House food hall was running like a well-oiled machine. Just over half a dozen students were working behind the counter, serving up four variations of burgers and fries to an eager and replenishing line of customers.
The venture is a partnership between a class of commercial baking students at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School (Mervo), a trade-focused magnet school that backs up to Lake Montebello, and the community-based group Noisy Tenants.
Chris Landrum, a 2005 Mervo graduate who co-founded Noisy Tenants with business partner Nicholas Mitchel, said he first began working with the students back in September. He and their teacher, Natasha Blake-McDowell, attend the same church, and she asked him if he would come work with her last-period work-study class.
Sitting down together on Mondays and Thursday, he and Mitchel first worked with the aspiring chefs to launch a Homecoming movie night and a Halloween candy drop-off event, Landrum said. A fair deal of planning went into each project, from proposal-writing to contacting vendors to marketing plans, to actually setting up the events.
The next step had to be a restaurant.
“We realized we were building towards something. These students had been in school for three years working in this trade, so what better way for them to kind of capstone it all with something that’s directly related to it?” he said.
Initially, the class came up with concepts for pasta, a deli and an eatery serving different kinds of Hot Pockets, in addition to the burger joint. In a vote, burgers and fries won.
To come up with an original menu, Noisy Ventures brought in a food consultant to work with the seniors. “We kind of pushed it a little bit, had them try some flavors,” Landrum said.
The one they conceived is perfectly simple with four options: A classic-style cheeseburger, a signature “Noisy Burger” with a tangy, but sweet house-made sauce and grilled onions, the “Mervo Burger” with Carolina–style gold barbecue sauce and crumbled bleu cheese – a play on the school’s colors – and a turkey burger. There are also the fries, which are crispy and plentiful in a combo order.
(I ordered the Noisy Burger, which was cooked perfectly, sitting on a golden brown bun and stacked alongside piled-high fries. It was superb.)
Noisy Burger’s staff comprises its nine core seniors and eight to 10 juniors and sophomores from the commercial baking program, Landrum said. The largest shift crew was scheduled for Noisy Burger’s opening night. That was a great choice, as the stand appeared to be about as busy as any other in R. House.
Proceeds from the venture will go to paying for supply and rental costs. Any additional revenue will go to the Greenmount West Community Center.
I’d highly recommend paying Noisy Burger a visit, both for good food and to support a worthwhile project. It’ll be up and running through Tuesday, May 2, at R. House in Remington.